Veteran's Day 11K, 2014
Each year I run this race for my two brothers, both military veterans. I have only missed one year, 2012, due to an injury and illness. This year, as you may imagine, was an emotional one for me since we lost Chris this year to cancer. The day before this race Angela and I completed the Scavenger Dash. I was going in to the Veterans Day Race just wanting to finish as solidly as I could.
We started a few minutes late because there was a few Ragnar attendees that had to pick up their packets and our RD (the fab Charlene) was super awesome about helping them out since their race prevented them from going to the pre-race pickup times. While we were waiting though we warmed up with a fun dance-like warm up routine with our RD and our race MC Mark Jones (in his full Marine dress uniform). Charlene said a few words to our vets and active duty attendees. We also took a moment to remember the veterans no longer with us. I teared up. Then we sang the Star Spangled banner. Needless to say the water works threatened a few times in those moments.
Once we started though it was time to focus. It was warmer than I anticpated so I was glad I was wearing my InkNBurn shirt over my Running Troops singlet. RT were sponsors of the event so I was torn on this part up until race morning. I took my singlet with me in case I changed my mind again or needed it for pictures.
As usual it took a mile or two to feel comfortable. My legs were still very sore from the punishment the day before so I tried to ease myself into it. I still think I went out a little too fast because at about mile 4 or so I started to drag a bit. I took a few walk breaks when I had to but tried to keep those shorter than my intervals allowed for. Looking at my pacing I was rather consistent until the end where I was all over the place.
Despite all of the challenges I had faced with tired legs and a very heavy heart I still managed to PR this distance by about a minute. One moment that was extra special was the Marine that ran past me and yelled "Ooh-rah!" and I doubt that I will ever forget that. Pretty special hearing that from a Marine.
I am proud of the fact that I was able to complete this race to honor my brothers and all of our service men and women. As I crossed the finish I looked up to the sky and blew a kiss to my brother.
Chris, not a day goes by that we don't miss you. With every run since you passed, whenever I struggle, I always think of you. I can't give up. Not ever.
To my brother David, you are the best big brother and I could not ask for better. I love you.